Altered peripheral immune profiles in treatment-resistant depression: response to ketamine and prediction of treatment outcome.


A subset of patients with depression have elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines, and some studies demonstrate interaction between inflammatory factors and treatment outcome. However, most studies focus on only a narrow subset of factors in a patient sample. In the current study, we analyzed broad immune profiles in blood from patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) at baseline and following treatment with the glutamate modulator ketamine. Serum was analyzed from 26 healthy control and 33 actively depressed TRD patients free of antidepressant medication, and matched for age, sex and body mass index. All subjects provided baseline blood samples, and TRD subjects had additional blood draw at 4 and 24 h following intravenous infusion of ketamine (0.5 mg kg-1). Samples underwent multiplex analysis of 41 cytokines, chemokines and growth factors using quantitative immunoassay technology. Our a priori hypothesis was that TRD patients would show elevations in canonical pro-inflammatory cytokines; analyses demonstrated significant elevation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. Further exploratory analyses revealed significant regulation of four additional soluble factors in patients with TRD. Several cytokines showed transient changes in level after ketamine, but none correlated with treatment response. Low pretreatment levels of fibroblast growth factor 2 were associated with ketamine treatment response. In sum, we found that patients with TRD demonstrate a unique pattern of increased inflammatory mediators, chemokines and colony-stimulating factors, providing support for the immune hypothesis of TRD. These patterns suggest novel treatment targets for the subset of patients with TRD who evidence dysregulated immune functioning.

Adult, Case-Control Studies, Chemokines, Cytokines, Depressive Disorder, Major, Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant, Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists, Female, Fibroblast Growth Factor 2, Humans, Inflammation, Infusions, Intravenous, Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Interleukin-1alpha, Interleukin-1beta, Interleukin-6, Ketamine, Male, Middle Aged, Prognosis, Treatment Outcome, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha